T-Mobile Hits Home

by Colin Berkshire

I have to say I am a huge fan of T-Mobile’s CEO, Legere. He’s one of those people who really gets it. He’s fresh thinking and hard driving. He certainly believes in competition. He is everything that Verizon and AT&T are not.

If you aren’t familiar with him, then watch this 1-minute clip and you will get the idea. he will raise an eyebrow when he says that Verizon “hates you.” But then, perhaps they do.

We use T-Mobile for all of our US based global users now because they offer free, unlimited data in close to every country. Hop off the plane, fire up your phone, and check your email. That doesn’t seem like a big deal until you go up to Canada or down to Mexico. An iPad sitting in your briefcase, not being used, can run up a $100 bill on Verizon within an hour of just being in Canada.

Let me say that again: T-Mobile is free & unlimited. Verizon charges $2,000 a gigabyte for data when you cross over into Canada! In case you think that is expensive, wait until you step into China or London or Paris where Verizon charges $20,000 a gigabyte. Yes, this is not a typo, it’s $20,000 a gigabyte.

I so want T-Mobile to succeed. But there is a problem that has turned into a deal-breaker for many users: Their network is pretty poor. Our experience has been that more than half (perhaps 75%) is still “Edge”. That means it is so slow that the USPS can deliver a mail message faster in some cases. And, the network is geographically quite limited: You get only about 0.1 gigabytes on roaming partner networks, which is really nothing at all. (You can [not] easily tell a roaming partner network from the T-Mobile network on their Web site. T-Mobile sites are in magenta while roaming partners are in a slightly different share of magenta which you can’t even discern on many monitors.

Sadly, I now have to carry two SIM chips for my USA service. I carry T-Mobile for when I’m traveling outside the US and Verizon for use within the US. This is pathetic. It’s sickening to realize that I need multiple SIMs for US service simply because every cell phone company is crappy in some fatally flawed way.

I do get asked why Verizon and why not AT&T. We just did a simple test of AT&T and actually found that it was very often worse than T-Mobile. AT&T was often slower and had less coverage. AT&T has and continues to just suck IMHO. We just tried AT&T last month, so these are pretty current results.

Really, we need to restructure the cell phone industry. Let’s break the towers off into a company separate from the service companies. Then, require tower companies and service companied to accept connections from any customer. Imagine a system where you could use any tower. That would begin to be true competition for quality of service.

In the meantime, Legere of T-Mobile is our best home of being a savior for all of us.